“Balbir Singh is my hero, and I hope that this Indo-Canadian hockey legend becomes a hero to many more people,” an award-winning local journalist Patrick Blennerhassett said about the subject of his new book A Forgotten Legend: Balbir Singh Sr., Triple Olympic Gold & Modi’s New India. “He represents everything we look for in our superstar athletes, something that is missing a bit in today’s modern culture–he’s modest, humble and always looking to give his teammates all the credit. Those are values our kids need to emulate when they start playing the sports they love.“
By R. Paul Dhillon
VANCOUVER – On March 5th, Balbir Singh Sr., India’s most decorated Olympian will be at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus to help launch a new book about his life, written by an award-winning local journalist Patrick Blennerhassett.
The non-fiction work, A Forgotten Indo-Canadian Hockey Legend: Balbir Singh Sr., Triple Olympic Gold & Modi’s New India, celebrates this remarkable sporting hero and his fascinating story of resilience, redemption, and survival.
In 2014, former SFU student Blennerhassett traveled to Chandigarh, India to find Singh Sr. and document his amazing tale. What he found was a momentous life lost throughout the decades, and a country struggling with its own identity.
Balbir Singh Sr. won three Olympic gold medals for India and is arguably the world’s greatest field hockey player of all time. However, the Canadian citizen and Vancouver resident are unknown across the globe. Why is this?
“Balbir’s story is like no other,” Blennerhassett told DESIBUZZbc in an interview this week.
“When I heard it, I knew I had to go to India and meet him and tell his incredible tale. He has done so much for India and gotten so little in return, I hope with this book we can uncover him to a new Canadian audience. I hope people get a chance to read it and find out who he is, and why he hasn’t been given his due throughout the years,” he said
And when asked about his perspective on how west’s sports-Olympic legends are treated compared to legends of the east, especially in terms of his subject’s context, Blennerhassett, who has won a Jack Webster Fellowship Award, and have published two previous fiction novels, said Balbir Singh’s story is different and unique.
“North American sports culture is very focused on a few sports. But with Balbir’s story, it’s great to not only show an Olympic and Indian hero but an Indo-Canadian hockey legend as well. Balbir is my hero, and I hope that he becomes a hero to many more people,” Blennerhassett said.
“He represents everything we look for in our superstar athletes, something that is missing a bit in today’s modern culture–he’s modest, humble and always looking to give his teammates all the credit. Those are values our kids need to emulate when they start playing the sports they love.“
A Forgotten Legend:
A Talk With India’s Field Hockey Olympian
Balbir Singh Sr. & Book Launch
Saturday, March 5th, 2016 2 PM – 4 PM
Westminster Savings Lecture Theatre (Room 2600)
SFU’s Surrey Campus, 250-13450 102 Ave
SFU is proud to host Singh Sr. himself, Blennerhassett and the community in an interview format event as Singh Sr. recounts his one-of-a-kind existence and engages with the audience.